OfficeRocker!

Strange thinking about Microsoft Office

Blog - About

About Office Rocker!

Thanks for stopping by at my blog.  I'm Darren Strange, the UK product manager for the 2007 Microsoft Office system.  We are launching the 2007 release in January 2007 together with Windows Vista and in the run up to that I'll be talking about what's new and why it is significant in the evolution of Microsoft Office.

A bit about me then. My job has two parts to it - an evangelist for the product and a project manager for the launch project.  The evangelist part means I do lots of presentations on Office and am the lead spokesperson in the UK on Information Worker matters.  I work with customers, partners, analysts and press to better understand the opportunities for Office and help people to understand and get value from it.  The project management part is running a pretty complex, multi-workstream project which covers each segment, audience and department involved in the launch.  I take a special interest in the rapid deployment customers and in the press and analyst outreach. 

Wherever possible, we are using the 2007 release to run the project using SharePoint Server, Groove, Project Server, InfoPath, Excel and PowerPoint in our project office processes.  This means I am hopefully "walking the talk" as we march towards launch.

My background is in Microsoft Consulting Services where I started as an Exchange consultant back in 1997 and later got to manage the collaboration team and then the solutions practice.  This comprised of three consulting teams; collaboration, Internet business and SQL & Business Intelligence.  Before that I worked for KPMG Management Consulting for 4 years which my first job out of university.  Last year I passed my PMI and this year my CIM professional diploma.  I won't be doing any more exams for a while now..

Anyway, do let me know what you think, add comments and let's discuss.  That's the fun of blogging afterall.

  • OfficeRocker!

    Nobody likes a SmartArt: 2 top tips

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    Two things I learnt today. Excel in dual screen If you are working on two excel spreadsheets you can run two instances of Excel at the same time. Don't launch Excel by clicking on the file or from recent documents but instead just launch the application...
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    February top customer support calls on Office

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    Every month I get a report from support which tells me what the most common support issues are with my product. Now that the 2007 release is out, we are starting to get some more support calls and a few issues come up regularly and are therefore worth...
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    please not more..??

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    Technet Does Sharepoint services require Office 2007? Russell Harper no but a lot of the improvements in the client applications in 2007 will not be there in 2003 such as all that meta data stuff, publishing to excel services from excel, forms server...
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    Yet more questions from the roadshow

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    Technet will windows meeting space have clients written for xp machines, or will it not be a useable solution until all people in a meeting have vista? J Meeting space is part of windows Vista only sorry. Technet: How much of the office functionality...
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    Technet Roadshow slides

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    all the slides from the roadshow can be found on the technet site here
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    more questions from the roadshow

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    Can you arrange to never delete documents but have them archived even if they are deleted? The contributor role effectively prevents a user from deleting anything. A policy on the folder could auto archive all documents put there. There is no way for...
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    Questions from the roadshow

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    We continue the roadshow in Harrogate yesterday but this posts covers questions I made a note of to look up from all the previous roadshows at Nottingham, Bristol and Glasgow. Here are the ones I've looked at but there are still more outstanding which...
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    When presentations go wrong and how to recover afterwards

    • 20 Comments
    If any of you were at the Nottingham Technet event last week, you were a witness to probably the worst crash and burn I have ever suffered during a live presentation. I had put quite a lot of work into the presentation, believe it or not, and I had planned...
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    Environmentally friendly Office?

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    I've had quite a few people commenting that although the new curvy box is very funky, isn't it a total no no environmentally? In fact if you look on the bottom of the box, you will see that it is made from Polyethylene Terephthalate (not easy to say after...
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    Book Review: Using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

    • 2 Comments
    Title: Using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 Author: Patricia DiGiacomo Publisher: Que publishing Size: 998 pages Price: £19.13 (Amazon) OfficeRocker rating: 8/10 Who is it aimed at? The book is a very thorough reference guide to everything...
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    Random roundup

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    Some random things I've come across recently that might be of interest: The General availability launch on the 30th Jan went well. Have a look at their Leonardo DaVinci Vista application which enables you to browse the original notebooks - one owned by...
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    It's here... the 2007 Microsoft Office disks

    • 2 Comments
    I now have the first copies of 2007 at my desk ready for the launch on Tuesday. I can't remember actually being excited about holding a disk in my hand before but I admit it was great! In the meantime, you can download the trial from http://ukireland...
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    Kingston Uni case study live

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    Launch mode has kicked in so its hard to find time to blog but here is the link to the published Kingston Uni case study, following on from my previous post.
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    Kingston University: the future's bright with 2007 Office

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    It was my pleasure to get to know Ian McNeice from Kingston University over the last few months. Ian is a very passionate visionary in academic IT and was one of our early adopters. He kindly agreed to an IM interview about how they are using SharePoint...
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    Demo script used at CES show

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    Great demo as expected for the Consumer Electronics Show during Bill's keynote delivered by Justin Hutchinson. Watch the video or just read my transcript of the demo below. Vista search to find a document "windows vista is not about searching its about...
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    Book Review: the Unofficial Guide to Microsoft Office 2007

    • 1 Comments
    Title: the Unofficial Guide to Microsoft Office 2007 Author: Paul McFedries Publisher: Wiley Size: 772 pages Price: £8.57 (Amazon) OfficeRocker rating: 7/10 Who is it aimed at? It seems to be pitched at people who are fairly familiar with computers and...
  • OfficeRocker!

    OMG they killed Clippy!

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    As we keep saying, using the new Office is childs play. So what better way than creating a comic to explain it. Follow the adventures of Madeline as she discovers the magic ribbon. As we gear up for the consumer release of Windows and Office on Jan 30th...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Microsoft bribes bloggers - you think?!?

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    wasn't this the biggest storm in a teacup ? Honestly what a total over-reaction. Microsoft, keen that influential bloggers get to review our new technology decided that to make it easy, send bloggers an already configured machine so they can have a play...
  • OfficeRocker!

    One-take Raikes: Jeff Raikes

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    Not wishing to name drop but it was an absolute pleasure to do the demo for Jeff on stage at our customer launch event. Jeff is one of the three presidents in Microsoft and reports in to Steve Ballmer and Bill. I am a tiny flea in his org basically. It...
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    Delays due to resurfacing

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    We have launched. I am happy about that and also absolutely knackered. We launched to press on the 30th at the diamond club in the Arsenal stadium. The customer launch followed on the 5th December in the QEII centre in Westminster with some 300 top customers...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Fighting the second law of thermodynamics

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    T-13 days An understanding of physics, I always maintain, is a useful foundation for living. It helps to understand why launching a product can feel like an uphill struggle. The reason is that the entropy always increases. Put another way, the natural...
  • OfficeRocker!

    IT forum virtual side

    • 1 Comments
    They've done a great job on the virtual conference site so if you can't be here, you can still join in. You can tap into all the Office system content here .
  • OfficeRocker!

    Barcelona - traveling with Vista and Office

    • 1 Comments
    T-15 days to launch I'm at IT Forum in Barcelona speaking to press for a few days which is fun. The wireless network is good and what with the incredible battery life on my HP , I am experiencing a different level of mobility. Some nice features...
  • OfficeRocker!

    Job's a good 'un: Office RTMs, Outlook adds SMS integration

    • 5 Comments
    Like a proud parent, I can say with relief that the 2007 Microsoft Office system has been released to manufacturer , meaning it is now complete. We've confirmed our joint launch (with Vista and Exchange) on the 30th November. I've been running the RTM...
  • OfficeRocker!

    New Office Online launches

    • 1 Comments
    We've launched the new version of the Office Online site at office.microsoft.com. It has a more "ribbony" feel to it which is nice and it feels very clean and easy to navigate. You can personalise it so that products that you are more interested in are...
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